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Digital Life
 
TABLETS

Asus VivoTab Note 8 is a stylus-toting tablet

Published on May 5, 2014 8:12 AM
 

Tablet users with an artistic bent will appreciate the stylus that comes with this 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet.

The Wacom digitiser stylus is a major upgrade over others because it can distinguish the amount of pressure applied while writing. In geekspeak, the stylus supports up to 1,000 levels of pressure sensitivity.

This makes it possible to vary one's pen strokes for a more natural writing experience. It is very helpful for pencil sketch drawings, for example.

The stylus is stowed at the lower right edge of the tablet. Pulling it out to scribble a note is quick and easy. But I miss the pop-up window that appears on Samsung Galaxy Note devices when the stylus is removed from the holder.

The Note 8 has a relatively narrow bezel with a soft-touch finish at the back. It is easy to grip the plastic chassis with one hand, as it weighs just 385g, or about the weight of a can of soft drink.

Asus has moved the Windows logo key function (usually found below the screen in portrait orientation) to a button on the left edge, next to the microSD card slot.

This seems to be a good change as I have often hit the Windows logo key accidentally while using the tablet in landscape mode. But the new button is flush with the edge and hard to press. I ended up using swipe gestures instead to access the Windows 8 Start Screen.

The tablet uses an in-plane switching panel, so the viewing angles are good. But a small gap between the outer glass and the display makes it less vibrant than the best screens.

The Note 8 lacks the keyboard dock found on Asus' other Atom-based tablet, the Transformer Book T100TA. But you can connect a Bluetooth keyboard if it is needed.

Unlike some of its rivals, this Asus tablet lacks video output such as a micro-HDMI port. It does support wireless display via Miracast, which can be unreliable. With its Intel Atom CPU and 2GB of RAM, this tablet performs basic computing tasks adequately, but apps may load more slowly than on a mainstream laptop. Storage is limited to 64GB, though you can add a microSD card.

The integrated graphics on this device means it is more suitable for casual games from the Windows Store than conventional PC games. Like other 8-inch Windows tablets, the Note 8 bundles Microsoft Office Home and Student Edition.

Battery life is 7hr 10min, which is better than most of its competitors.

This article was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life on April 9, 2014.

Background story

TECH SPECS

Price: $499, exclusively at Best Denki

Processor: Intel Atom Processor Z3740 (1.33GHz)

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics

RAM: 2GB

Screen size: 8 inches, 1,280 x 800 pixels

Connectivity: Micro-USB, microSD card slot, headphone and microphone combo jack

Battery: 15.5 watt-hour

RATING

Features 4/5

Design 4/5

Performance 3/5

Value for money 5/5

Battery life 4/5

Overall 4/5

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